Williams’ absence to be a Golden opportunity?

Mike Williams’ availability is the biggest uncertainty entering Sunday’s game, and not just because the receiver stands 6 feet 5. Williams has been the centerpiece of Seattle’s renaissance in the passing game, a receiver who has caught 17 passes over the past two games. He did not practice on Wednesday nor Thursday because of a foot sprain. Who would replace him if he’s unable to play?

Coach Pete Carroll played coy when asked about that Wednesday, saying only the Seahawks would adjust their receiving rotation.

But Golden Tate could figure prominently as he returns after missing the past three games because of a sprained ankle he suffered in Oakland on Oct. 31.

“I have never experienced having an injury that took me out the game for a few weeks,” Tate said after Wednesday’s practice. “But I’m always looking to find the bright side of things. The bright side was actually I got a chance to sit, to watch. I actually got a chance to really take in the mental reps and really try to understand it versus when I was playing it was like learning on the fly, learning on the fly and just trying to make it stick … So now it actually got to soak in, and I kind of got a chance to really understand the game and the way it is supposed to be played. So that’s a good thing about it. Obviously, I want to be out there and helping the team the best I can, any I chance I get.”

Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was asked about Tate’s return.

“He came out (Wednesdady) and looked really sharp,” Bates said. “Either you get better or you get worse, you never stay the same. It depends on how you take it as far as being a professional, and I think he studied other wide receivers, I think he studied guys on our team and I think it helped him. He needs to keep growing. It’s a process. It takes time. Some guys, it takes a year, some guys it takes three, but as long as you keep getting better, you got a chance to make plays.”

Tate’s rookie season has not been as productive as many expected. He was inactive for the first game, a healthy scratch, and has seen his playing time dialed back because of mistakes in route running. In six games, he has caught 10 passes for 151 yards.

This constitutes a fresh start, though. A clean break.

“As far as I’m concerned, my rookie season is over with,” Tate said. “It’s a new start for me right now. To show the coaches that I’m here. I’m trying to make plays for this team, and help us win.”